Mental health


Madness and language by Nimue Brown
A helpful framing of different ways to think about mental health issues.

Madness, Shamanism, and Wicca by Yvonne Aburrow
Some people have argued that people with mental health issues should not take part in Wicca, because the rituals are highly emotionally charged and involve a lot of shamanic practices which people feel might exacerbate mental health issues. I disagree – I think that the practice of Wicca can help people to integrate the psyche, which would be beneficial. Neither mental health, learning difficulties, nor learning disabilities should be regarded as an automatic disqualification for taking part in Pagan or Wiccan rituals.

Thorn Mooney, Wicca and Depression
"I am disturbed by the tendency in Wiccan, Pagan, and New Age communities to eschew psychiatric care, qualified counseling, and even open discussion of mental illness in favor of, essentially, positive thinking and lots of herbal tea. There is still a trend toward shaming those who seek professional help in struggling with depression (etc.). The implication is that if you struggle with mental illness, you’re doing Wicca wrong."
"...what’s really insidious about practicing witchcraft with disorders like OCD or chronic anxiety is that they can mimic the instincts and gut feelings that witches rely on to perform effective magic. In a normal-functioning brain, a signal like “Not that card–the one next to it!” can be a powerful message. For someone with OCD or anxiety, though, it can be impossible to tell when that message is authentic and when it’s just noise."
"The term “mental illness” conjures up fear. We think of dangerous people sneaking around doing dangerous things. But the fact is that most people with mental illness are a lot like me. People who get along with others, people you interact with, people you care about."
"Lately, I’ve been thinking about “relative oddness.” I realize that I must sound crazy as a loon to the folks who do not perceive the world as I do. Just last week I found myself defending my sanity here on the blog comments. But can I blame them? I mean, witchcraft?…seriously. I regularly question my sanity and do little reality checks with my peers, just to make sure I’m still on the rails. Some days I wonder if I’m the lunatic; other days I wonder if I’m the last sane person on earth."

Self-harm, faith, and spirituality, by Rev Kate  
Excellent article on self-harm in the context of faith and spirituality, by a Metropolitan Community Church minister (the MCC, founded in 1968, is a liberal church created by and for LGBT people).

Nimue Brown, Labels, power, and identity
On how labels you choose yourself are empowering, and how refusing others’ labels and identities, and mislabeling them, can be disempowering and even dangerous.


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